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2021 Memphis Tigers: Searching for a Quarterback
The Commercial Appeal

2021 Memphis Tigers: Searching for a Quarterback

The Memphis Tigers are coming off another solid season as they finished 2020 with an 8-3 record. They have a solid nucleus back but unfortunately, QB, Brady White is not one of them. White set school records in passing yards (10,690 yards) and touchdowns (90) and he will be hard to replace. The Tigers have been to a bowl game every year since 2013 and if they can answer the quarterback question, they will be in another one in 2021.

Offense: Four contenders for the quarterback position auditioned for the job in the spring and no one distinguished themself. Keilon Brown is listed as the starter but that is not settled at all. That battle will continue to evolve in the preseason. There are good players that will provide help for the new QB. RB, Rodriguez Clark ran for 561 yards and WR, Calvin Austin III had 63 receptions for 1,053 yards and 11 TDs and he is one of the best in the AAC. Three starters return to the offensive line led by All-AAC tackle Dylan Parham.

Defense: Several players decided to return for the extra year they were granted by the NCAA because of COVID. Upfront the marquee name is Morris Joseph (10.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks) and Wardalis Duckworth who added 4 sacks. Three-year starters JJ Russell and Thomas Pickens lead the linebacking group who are very experienced. The secondary includes All-AAC free safety Quindell Johnson (81 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles). He will be joined with strong safety Rodney Owens and cornerback Jacobi Francis The defense looks solid.

Non-Conference Schedule:

9/4 Nicholls State

9/11 at Arkansas State

9/18 Mississippi State

9/25 UTSA

This is a schedule that is reasonable and may serve as springboard to the upcoming season. All 4 games are winnable and the Tigers have a chance to head into the AAC with a 4-0 record. (Provided they have found a QB)

10/2 at Temple

10/9 at Tulsa

10/14 Navy

10/22 at UCF

11/6 SMU

11/13 East Carolina

11/19 at Houston

11/27 Tulane

The schedule features home games against East Carolina, Navy, and Tulane are must wins and the other game at home is against SMU which will be a game they need to win if they are going to be conference champs. The road schedule is tough. They need to get the Temple game on the win side and games at Tulsa, UCF, and Houston will likely decide how good this team can be.

Summary: Memphis has the players that are capable of having another good season in 2021. But, until the QB issue is settled, I don’t know how far they can go.

Predicted Finish: 4th Place in the AAC

Overall Record: 8-4

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